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Features | Reflections

September Reflections: Off Time

In his book Leisure: The Basis of Culture Josef Pieper wrote, “The inmost significance of the exaggerated value which is set upon hard work appears to be this: man seems to mistrust everything that is effortless; he can only enjoy, with a good conscience, what he has acquired with toil and trouble; he refuses to have anything as a gift.”

This sentiment, I hope, is changing. But most of us know someone like Professor Pieper was writing about: the co-worker who makes a show of coming to work early or staying late; the friend who can’t stop talking about how much they work; or worse, the friend who truly does seem to work themself to the bone — for no apparent reason. More personally, I can admit to some feelings of pride simply from putting in long hours rather than getting anything done or making any difference. 

I was raised on the idea of hard work being best, and it’s hard to shake the lesson. I still believe in work — broadly defined to include all work, not just traditional, paid work — but would suggest we change the frame from ‘hard work’ to ‘honest work.’ Honest work is about being honest with yourself and those around you. What do you really need to do, and what is filling time? How much of your time does a given project deserve? When does it have to be perfect, and when is perfect the enemy of the good? Is work intruding on the rest of life — leisure time, as Pieper might call it, or “off time” as I prefer (leisure reminds me of pink flamingos and shuffleboard — although that doesn’t sound so bad now that I think about it). 

Pieper’s idea has been top of mind as we have prepared for the launch of two new Outposts tomorrow – Getaway Piney Woods, outside of Dallas, and Getaway Catskills East, north of New York City. I’m proud of the team for making this happen — our fifth and sixth launches of the year! — but it also means it has been a period of intense work for our team.  

Aiming to be ambitious and realistic but not hypocritical, I guide the team to recognize that there will be periods of intense effort but that those times must be punctuated by meaningful rest. So as we welcome Getaway Piney Woods and Getaway Catskills East into the world tomorrow, I am looking forward to the team getting so more off time than they’ve had lately.

off time

Off time is really important. Off time, as Pieper says, is a gift, and one we shouldn’t refuse. And contrary to the way many of us were raised: off time isn’t unproductive. Letting your mind and body rest recharges you. Off time is often when new ideas pop into our brain. It is when we deepen our bonds with our friends, family, and communities. Off time allows us to take the long view — have you ever found that, without planning to do so, you end up making big life decisions when you finally go on that vacation?

A Getaway guest emphasized to me the importance of off time this week. I email with a lot of guests, and one wrote back to me after we had traded notes a few weeks ago about her Getaway. Her follow up email had an attachment: an ultrasound. She wrote:

Hi Jon,
I wanted to reach out to you because something truly amazing happened at our Getaway. After trying to conceive for a year we’ve learned that we are expecting! I truly believe that being in such a wholesome and relaxing environment really played a huge part and I wanted to thank you guys for being around. Attached is a picture!
Thanks again, T

See: off time isn’t so unproductive after all. 

Wishing you some quality off time this month,

Jon

Features | Reflections

June Reflections: On Pride

Unlike a lot of brands this month, we haven’t changed our logo to a rainbow version in celebration of Pride month.

As an LGBT person and CEO I have conflicting feelings about what might be perceived as the corporate takeover of Pride. The last time I went to the NYC pride parade it seemed to be mostly floats sponsored by cell phone carriers. In 2019 and after years of more tepid support, it is hard for me to see these companies as taking a brave stand rather than being bandwagon allies of a group of people who have suffered from marginalization for so long.

On the other hand, as my friend Michael Segal put it recently — there are still a lot of kids walking around with big secrets inside of them, and the fact that one cannot escape red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple flags in the month of June must provide some comfort to those kids, even if those flags are bought and paid for by some corporate behemoth’s focus-grouped and demographically-optimized marketing spend.

And so as leader of Getaway I remain conflicted about how to best celebrate Pride month — I don’t want to take advantage of a hard won identity for company gain, but I also don’t want to imply that visibility isn’t important.

One thing I am proud of: we have built a space where you can go, and you can be comfortable, and you can be yourself. No matter what you look like, or who you are with, your Getaway is for you and for you only. In a world that is thankfully becoming more and more tolerant in many places, most of us still need a place to fully escape once in a while. I am proud that we have heard from so many that we are that place to them.

Happy pride,

Jon

Features | Reflections

May Reflections: On Growth

Today we opened Outposts 5 and 6, one just outside of Portland and one in between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. I’m excited and proud that this is a year of growth for Getaway.

Portland Outpost

To see how Getaway has caught on with guests is invigorating for our whole team. We feel energized by the new challenges that arise from maintaining an incredible experience as we expand across the country.

Yet on a more fundamental level, what this growth really means is that we’re adding more disconnected hours to the world. We’re putting more families in quiet spaces together where they can play games and make traditions. We’re allowing loved ones to spark conversations, to take adventures, to challenge themselves and one another. We’re committing to our promise of offering a counterbalance to our city routines.

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to speak at the Travel Forward conference in Washington, DC. I’ll spare you the speech, but after my talk I was pleasantly surprised by many attendees who approached me to share how much they loved their Getaways. They told me about what the experience gave them, that Getaway is their favorite place, that they’ve gone four times, or that they had made a new tradition of going every year with a growing family.

may reflections

I can’t wait to hear more and more of your stories – outside of DC, Boston, New York, Atlanta, and now Portland, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and soon Los Angeles and Dallas.

I hope this is also a year of growth for all of us in our individual quests to find balance in this chaotic world. If Getaway can be a small part of that journey for you, that is what will truly make my year.

Be Well,

Jon

Features | Reflections

April Reflections: On Routines

Routines get a bad rap. Sure, negative routines may leave us in a mundane rut, but routines can be good for us too. The best routines create a sense of comfort and a sense of security.

If you think about it, routines and rituals are not so different. They both involve repeated action, but there’s something about the intentionality behind the word “ritual” that frees it from the banality of our day-to-day lives.

For me, my Getaway always starts with the same ritual. I pull up to my cabin, unload the car (usually with just one backpack), open the door, put my phone in the lockbox, and breathe a sigh of relief. Then I kick off my shoes, make a cup of coffee, and dive into the reading that always seems to escape me in the city.

Everyone seems to have their own ritual at Getaway, and I love reading how you spend time. Some of my favorites from this month include:

“I haven’t roasted a marshmallow since I was a kid. Just the taste of roasted marshmallows took me back to summer camping trips with my family. Although we were sad to go after just one night, we left feeling completely refreshed.” – Scott S., Getaway Boston

“We had an amazing time playing Yahtzee, reading, taking walks, building fires, cooking, chatting, sleeping, and hiking.  It was an amazing opportunity to connect with each other and disconnect from all the pressure and stress in everyday life.” – Sasha B., Getaway DC

We made this video to celebrate the many routines, rituals, and practices at Getaway, whether they be by ourselves, with a good book, with a loved one, or with a four-legged friend.

Here’s to building rituals that serve us, and finding comfort in connection to nature and each other.

Be Well,

Jon

Features | Reflections

March Reflections: On Change

I always look forward to March: longer days, rising temperatures, more time to spend outside. This March has been a special one. Today we opened our first Outpost in the South — Getaway Atlanta.

We can often get so wrapped up in the hustle of our day-to-day lives that we don’t take moments to pause and reflect on what exactly we’re doing. So that’s what I’d like to do here: take a few seconds to appreciate what Getaway Atlanta means to me.

Atlanta

On the surface – a new location, more cabins, more guests getting to enjoy some precious time away from distractions. But in a deeper sense, we’re doubling down on our commitment to provide our future guests the opportunity for a mindful renewal in nature. It’s something we’ll continue to do throughout the year. I couldn’t be happier to kick it off with Atlanta.

Beyond Atlanta, our busy month started with the National Day of Unplugging. We hosted meditation sessions with our friends at The Assemblage in New York, so workers could enjoy a few moments of calm before and after their workdays. A week later, we celebrated International Women’s Day with She’s the First, a non-profit that offers educational opportunities to women who are the first to receive secondary education in their families.

Even during these busy months, the team and I always obsess about reading all of your feedback. The whole team reads every email, comment, and notification that comes through. It helps make us better, keeps us on our toes, and ensures that we never lose sight of why we’re doing what we’re doing. Here are a few highlights from March for me:

Women around campfire

“Getaway was more than I could have imagined. It was a separation and isolation I didn’t even know I needed. I didn’t realize how dependent I had become on TV and internet. It was liberating to just do nothing. It was great to catch up with the friend I went with. We learned so much about each other but yet had our individual moments of rest.” – Jeraldin G., The June

“I’ve honestly never had a better weekend. This was everything I needed and I can’t stop talking about it.” Lisa W., The Sophie

“Loved the getaway- my boyfriend actually proposed to me when we were there and I am so thankful for the cabin. With our phones locked away, the getaway took the pressure off immediately sharing our news on social media. We got to enjoy the moment and our new chapter together then quietly re-enter the world.” Ellen C., The Robert

As always, feel free to get in touch if you have any feedback or ideas.

Be well,
Jon

Features | Reflections

February Reflections: On Unplugging

I’ve long thought we should have more holidays. Why isn’t there, at least, one holiday every month? If we were to add more holidays, what things would you want us to carve out time for? One of my votes would be for us all to celebrate the National Day of Unplugging, a “24 hour respite from technology.” Read more about the day here.

So on March 1, we’re unplugging. Don’t worry if you’re staying with us that day —  our field teams are at the ready to ensure you get your own time to recharge.

It’s a special day that’s about replacing push notifications with a pull towards the outdoors, setting aside our likes and follows for more time with the people we like the most. I appreciate my cell phone and my “connected” world, but it’s about setting a day to acknowledge that the counterbalance is just as important.

To me, National Day of Unplugging comes at the perfect time. Inevitably, at least in the Northeast, we spend a lot of time indoors in February. More time inside often equates to more time on screens, longer work hours, and less opportunity to meaningfully get away. Here’s hoping this special day serves as a reminder to us all about the upside of unplugging.

Be Well,
Jon

Features | Reflections

January Reflections

There’s nothing like a “New Year, New You” email – or several – to jolt you into 2019. I must have received a hundred emails with that headline.

While there’s a lot to be said about taking time to reevaluate, to renew, and to replenish, it’s hard not to feel drowned in cliches. Especially when these temperatures drop down to freezing, and we all end up spending more time indoors and in our routines than outside getting replenished and re-energized.

January at Getaway

Quiet Place to Reflect

This month, I had the privilege of speaking on a panel about “experiences” in retail. Getaway might not seem like an obvious choice for discussing retail design, but I was happy to participate because it allowed me some beginning-of-the-year reflection to crystallize why I think what we’re doing matters to us, but more importantly, why it matters to you.

Much of the panel conversation was about the officially tired trend of corporate-designed “immersive” experiences. I can wax cynical on the distraction I think these spaces provide, but instead I was grateful for the experience to reflect and to advocate for what I think we’re doing differently.

We’re not here to give people a “Getaway experience” — Getaway exists so that you can unlock your own experiences, and live a little more deeply. It’s you, not us, that are creating the experience.

You can read more about that panel here, or feel free to get in touch if you have any questions. I’d love to hear from you.

Here’s hoping for a little less distractedness, and a more deep experiences in 2019.

Be well,

Jon

Features | Reflections

November Reflections

November always feels like a signal change. It’s when the seasons shift and here in the northeast, it starts to get properly cold. It’s as if fall is telling us the year is almost over — ”wrap up what you need to do before you’re hit with the blistering winter.”

More than that, it’s a month of gratitude. While I think it’s important to reflect and express gratitude throughout the year, it’s helpful to have an explicit holiday that reminds us all to say thanks. This year, there’s a lot to be grateful for.

The Getaway Team got together to celebrate all we’re thankful for. We traveled to our DC Outpost, disconnected from our devices and work, and celebrated with each other. We even had a Team Thanksgiving feast, dividing into teams, each responsible for cooking a different course over the campfire. I continue to be incredibly grateful for the dedicated people in the field and at our headquarters that make Getaway everything that it is. You can watch a snippet of our Team Thanksgiving above.

reflections

I am also grateful for our incredible guests across New York, DC, and Boston, who have embraced the intention of creating more balance for themselves. Whether it’s perusing through the #getawayoften mentions on Instagram or through direct feedback shared with me, our guests provide us with a sense of purpose day in and day out. I’m unsure if words do justice to the amount of gratitude that I – and our team – have for our guests, so we’ll reserve that energy and put it towards continuing to deliver an exceptional Getaway experience.

This month, we announced a brand new Outpost outside of Los Angeles, a project over a year in the making, and our first Outpost on the west coast. We’re excited and grateful to be able to serve our Angeleno friends in need of mindful escapes in 2019.

As always, feel free to get in touch if you have feedback or ideas.

Be well,
Jon, CEO + Founder